Welcome to the inaugural blurb from the Pedagogical Pundit. My goal is to bring you key empirical evidence and research on teaching and learning, share some opinions and reflect on some challenges to teachers everywhere. Given we are in the early stages of the semester, I thought this is a good time to reflect on habit change.
Come January 1st, millions of Americans vow to change their behaviors and adopt new healthy approaches to life. The start of the year is an epic milestone and easy to set a goal for. The great news for teachers and students is that we get this big chance to start anew TWICE a year. Every semester can be a clean slate. Every new school term is a chance to start afresh with new study habits. If you are interested in ways to get students to change habits two very good reads are Better than Before (Gretchen Ruebin) and The Power of Habits ( Charles Duhigg). Both are good writers, the former writes for the lay public the latter more of a Malcom Gladwell type of book. You will see many tips in there you can share with students.
One easy habit to start with? Have students cut down on cell phone use while studying. Although highschools have great policies to limit phone use, this is not the case. Although we can talk about the perils of divided attention until we are blue in the face, data speaks loud. A recent study showed a clear negative relationship between cell phone use and grades (Bjornsen & Archer, 2015). Show that data to students and get the wheels turning.
Onward and upward. Let’s cultivate some learning!